(Supported by mixi)Cast
A joint research project into the artificial life of Alter 3, an android developed for the purpose of examining the potential of communication with humans. Motivated by a mission into business activities aimed at bringing vibrancy to the world through the communication media, the project was inaugurated by mixi Inc., which provided the Alter 3 simulator, international android research pioneer Ishiguro laboratory of Osaka University (android developed by OGAWA Kohei), Alife (artificial life) research pioneer Ikegami Laboratory of the University of Tokyo, and Warner Music Japan, which provided the space for project verification and experimentation.
Alter 3 is characterized by its body, in which all interior mechanisms are exposed, and a face from which it is impossible to determine gender or age, and it is an android robot designed to feel life, which is unprecedented in the field. Researchers from Osaka University and the University of Tokyo, which are famous for their work into androids and artificial life, have been collaborating up until now to create and study two Alter androids. The main challenges of this are whether or not it is possible for robots to acquire a sense of life independently through interactivity with the outside world, and to answer the basic question of exactly what life is through the course of this. The aim of the project is to use Alter 3 to accelerate research into models able to display behavior that makes it feel as if they are alive based on the knowledge acquired during development and research into the Alter androids studied up until now. The most important aim of the research is to find a design that can be transported to various locations throughout the world and is durable enough to withstand continual use in order to promote automatic movement technology through interaction with the outside world. In contrast to the two Alter androids developed up until now, Alter 3 is equipped with a sensor system and facial expression functions that are closer to human capabilities by installing cameras in both eyes and incorporating a voice function that operates through the mouth. And the expressions around the mouth that are required when singing have been improved. In addition, the output capabilities are an improvement on Alter 2, giving better bodily expression and responsiveness, thereby enabling dynamic movement. One other point of evolution achieved with Alter 3 is the fact that it can be dismantled and reassembled by non-experts, and that it is portable enough to be transported by aeroplane.
The members collaborating on the Alter 3 project include SHIBUYA Keiichiro, a composer who first came up with the idea for an android opera and whose "Scary Beauty" is being performed around the world, UCHIDA Mahoro, curator of National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation who has planned exhibitions held throughout the world. Furthermore, world-famous conductor ONO Kazushi, novelist SHIMADA Masahiko and SHIBUYA Keiichiro will collaborate on producing the new opera that will be held as the NNTT's special program in August 2020. The arrival of Alter 3 will send a message into the future of art, music and science through a new style of communication between humans and androids.
Alter Series Hardware and Software Architecture Design & Programming: Hiroshi Ishiguro, Kohei Ogawa, Takashi Ikegami, Itsuki Doi
Alter 3 Software Architecture Design & Programming: Atsushi Masumori, Norihiro Maruyama, ALTERNATIVE MACHINE Inc.
Alter 3 Simulator Development: mixi, Inc.
Alter 3 Presented by: mixi, Inc.
Executive Producer: Koki Kimura (mixi, Inc.)
Special Thanks: The University of Tokyo, Osaka University, mixi, Inc., Warner Music Japan Inc., ALTERNATIVE MACHINE Inc.